MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred admitted that he has made at least one mistake in the wake of the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal.
The commissioner apologized on Tuesday for referring to the World Series trophy as a “piece of metal” during an interview with ESPN on Sunday when explaining why he would not strip the Astros of their 2017 title.
“I want to apologize for that,” Manfred said at a press conference in Arizona. “There’s no excuse for it. I made a mistake. I was trying to make a point, but I should’ve made it in a more effective way, and again, I want to apologize for that.”
During the interview, Manfred said: “The idea of an asterisk or asking for a piece of metal back seems like a futile act. People will always know that something was different about the 2017 season, and whether we made that decision right or wrong, we undertook a thorough investigation, and had the intestinal fortitude to share the results of that investigation, even when those results were not very pretty.”
The commissioner’s reference to the trophy in a trivializing manner drew the ire of many players, with Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner perhaps the most vociferous, calling Manfred “out of touch.”
“At this point the only thing devaluing that trophy is that it says ‘commissioner’ on it,” Turner said on Tuesday, prior to Manfred’s apology.
Manfred, who is entering his sixth season as commissioner, has spent the last few days trying to do damage control as players continue to voice their anger in the lack of punishment the Astros received from their player-driven effort to steal signs electronically.
Even LeBron James weighed in with his thoughts on Twitter, criticizing the commissioner.
Manfred is currently working with the players’ union to enforce new rules to prevent such a scandal from happening again, but it is clear he still has a long way to go in smoothing the relationship between himself and the players — and the World Series comment has really struck a chord.
“I will say this,” Manfred continued on Tuesday, “I’ve awarded five World Series trophies. There is no greater pleasure in this job than awarding that trophy. I understand what it means, and again, it was a mistake to say what I said.”